Monday, January 01, 2007

Non Sequitur

Put yourself in this situation: You are interviewing the parents of a soldier killed in Iraq and you ask, "Would your son’s death...weigh on you less if you...believed that things were going well?" The father answers, "No (long pause). I would say if they were going well, well that’s a difficult question, I would say no, it wouldn’t weigh on me less because I never believed that this was a necessary war."

What would a reasonable follow-up comment or question be?
  • "Did your son know how you felt?"
  • "You never felt that this war was necessary?"
  • "So how did you handle it when he was called up?"
  • "I'm so sorry, that must make your loss even more terrible."

Today on Morning Edition Renee Montagne found herself in exactly this situation. And her next question was, "What mementos do you have of your son?"

MEMENTOS! For God's sake, the poor man has just mentioned that his son died in a war that he believes was UNNECESSARY and all Renee Montagne can ask about are mementos. I was floored. Either Montagne is a dithering automaton or the sound editors (censors) decided that we shouldn't be exposed to any more unpatriotic ideas. Whatever the case, it was a bizarre moment. Fortunately, NPR at least did run the piece, which allowed us to hear the name of the organization that the parents started, Families of the Fallen for Change. Also, by searching the father's name, listeners can find this very moving essay by Paul Schroeder which fleshes out his comments about the war.


Kevan said...

Those of us who admit to cringing at NPR News now have some good company: Noam Chomsky.

Here's what he said on Democracy Now! today:

"I was driving home from work the other day and torturing myself by listening to NPR. It's kind of a masochistic streak I can't get over. Actually, some day I'm going to sue them. Once they got me so angry I started speeding. I lost control of what I was doing and I was stopped by a cop and I was going like 60 miles per hour in a 30 mile zone. Maybe a basis for a civil suit if there are any lawyers around here."

Democracy Now! devoted the whole show to a Chomsky speech. Has he even been on NPR?

Gave this blog another shout out on mine today ...

Mytwords said...


Porter Melmoth said...

I reproduced the same Chomsky quote some days ago on this blog.

In obscurity shall the truth be buried...

Kevan said...

Sorry, Peter. :(

I don't read all the comments like I probably should. I didn't mean to step on your toes.

Kevan said...

And make that Porter ... danged automatic typing!

Porter Melmoth said...

No problem whatsoever! I'm delighted that others are discovering the Chomsky quote. For obvious reasons, I think the powers that be WANT such things to remain obscure. (I might have made a 'Kerry-style' gaffe there:) Heh-heh.

It's up to us to spread the word.